The debate over the strength of the Glasgow clubs goes on.
But there is a false narrative at the heart of it, and it is high time we grasped the nettle and had a proper discussion about it.
Today the newspapers are twisting the words of the Hibs manager to make it sound like he said that only when oil sheiks buy other clubs will we see a challenge from one. Even though he didn’t actually use those words, the inference is certainly there.
What loser thinking that is. What a joke.
Ange Postecoglou has openly scorned this as utterly defeatist. And it is. We’ve had two managers here in recent years who took unfancied clubs to titles; Ange himself and Ronny Deila. Both men have the distinction now of having won leagues in three different countries. You do not do that if you have such limited, negative thinking.
When Ronny Deila won a title with Strømsgodset he had to pull down the dynasties at Molde and Rosenborg.
It was only the second title in their history.
Ange’s Yokohama team hadn’t won one in fifteen years.
These guys weren’t throwing in the towel at any point. They believed in themselves and in their vision. To do otherwise is to chuck it before a ball is even kicked, and that’s what this attitude does. It is a betrayal of the fans who buy tickets.
At the start of every SPFL season, all the clubs start on zero. It’s as simple as that.
I firmly believe that we will see a proper title challenge from outside Glasgow in the next ten years because at some point the right club will hire the right guy and he’ll get that he doesn’t have to beat the Glasgow clubs right away, but only put together a team that can consistently beat the rest of the sides. Once that’s been achieved they can set their sights on the top.
It will not happen as long as clubs are run by people like Johnson or Neilson. It will not happen whilst people look at the so-called duopoly and meekly accept it as though it were an unshakable, unalterable fact of football life.
It is not. Clubs simply have to believe they can rise up to challenge it.
From 1904-1931 Celtic and Rangers traded titles, winning every single one.
Then Motherwell won one.
The pendulum swung back to Glasgow, and Celtic and Rangers won the next eight between them.
Then Hibs grabbed one.
Rangers won two in a row and then Hibs grabbed the next two.
In 1952, Rangers won one and then Celtic did.
But Aberdeen won the next one. Three years later it was Hearts turn, and after losing their title then won it back the following year. Dundee won the 1960-61 title, then Rangers got two … and then Killie grabbed it.
The following year, of course, Stein won his first of nine in a row. Rangers then won two. Then Celtic. Then Rangers. Then Celtic.
Did the rest of the league chuck it?
No because Aberdeen won the next one and were second two years in a row to Celtic. Then Dundee Utd won their title and Aberdeen got the next two. Tragically, that was the last won outside Glasgow.
It’s been a long time; 1985-86 … but the hegemony of the two club city has been broken periodically all the way through Scottish football history and only a complete fool thinks that it never will be again.
I wasn’t aware that this year the gap between second and third is on course to be a record breaker.
It currently sits at 28 points.
This is widely interpreted as a sign of the strengths of ourselves and the club across town.
But in fact it’s a symbol of defeatism elsewhere.
It’s a symbol of a league filled with teams content just to make up the numbers.
Let me put it this way; the Ibrox club has beaten Hearts three times out of three this season … but that only creates a nine point gap not one of such staggering magnitude. Even taking into account Celtic winning three out of three … that’s only an 18 point gap.
That leaves ten points utterly unaccounted for.
Should we regard them as unimportant?
We have a nine point lead over Ibrox and they are freaking out over it.
And let me say this; when clubs are content at the start of a season to write off 18 points pre-split just like that, as throwaways which they are not expected to get and under no pressure to, that’s a problem with them not us.
That, I think, is a problem for the whole game.
Hearts are congratulating themselves on sitting in third right now.
Their manager the other day actually said this “We are sitting four points clear in third position. Yes, we would like to have more but I think if you asked any team out-with (Glasgow), they would want to be in our position …”
And maybe that’s the issue, right there.
Managers who are satisfied in third.
Even if they fall over that line. Even if they are dire to watch. Even if they are rank rotten almost every other week.
Hearts have played 29 games in the league this season and won just 13 of them.
They have left points on the table in sixteen matches.
They’ve only played the teams from Glasgow six times … that means they’ve dropped points in ten games against the other clubs, and that’s where the gap actually comes from.
Subtract the six games between ourselves and Ibrox from Hearts campaign … they apparently do at the start of every season anyway.
That’s 23 fixtures played so far.
Ten wins in 23 fixtures is something to brag about now is it?
If he and his board are happy with that, if he actually sees that as some kind of moral victory, then that’s part of the problem here.
The media trots out this “strength of the big two” guff over and over again.
Nobody looks beyond the fact of Hearts sitting in third.
Nobody looks at how dire their form has really been.
It has nothing to do with the two clubs above them having money.
Our wealth didn’t cost Robbie Neilson points in those ten other matches … those failures are his alone.
Every manager in the league hides behind this same risible excuse.
Aberdeen have 13 wins the same as Hearts.
Hibs have only 12. That’s the problem.
It has damn all to do with the two teams at the top.
We get the spotlight to spare other teams and their mediocre managers and lower case ambitions from being subjected to it.
None of these other sides has been better than pedestrian; Aberdeen, at least, fired a manager over it.
If Robbie Neilson finished this season with 16 wins you get the feeling he’d get the Freedom of Edinburgh.
But a guy sitting in third who finishes that far behind the team in second should not be getting kudos.
He should be getting sacked.
When that starts to happen then maybe this stuff will finally start to change.
March 31, 2023 at 1:53 pm
March 31, 2023 at 10:14 pm
March 31, 2023 at 3:10 pm
March 31, 2023 at 10:05 pm
March 31, 2023 at 10:07 pm
Think you may be missing a point here James.
Watched the Republic take on France during the week and didn’t rely on a pitch only fit for cows in order to compete either.
This is basically a championship level of players playing international football who couldn’t even make it into a celtic matchday squad against one of the strongest teams in world football and pushed them all the way and very unlucky not to get a well deserved result from the game.
Lost the game still trying to play football albeit in a dangerous area when the old fashioned hoof away would have been a better option at the time.
Don’t get me wrong as I wouldn’t be the biggest fan of Stephen Kenny as manager but totally respect the level of football he is trying to install within young limited players at that level, after years of the shit we were subjected to watching.
The point being is that it is possible to produce teams on limited resources and still capable of being able to compete at the higher levels within the game still.
In Scotland still there remains a platform for useless fucks to promote the shit they are happy to serve up still without any form of repercussions.
Will be regarded as tactical geniuses in setting up a team in an anti football manner with the use of a favourable over physical approach upon a surface not worthy of playing the game upon.
Until such issues are addressed then the overall growth of the SPFL can’t grow imo.
Ange has shown what can be achieved within Scottish football, yet the likes of Steve Clarke will get all the plaudits still.
If that isn’t an obvious problem staring everyone in the face, I don’t know what is any longer
Exactly Rodgers stated many time surface should be checked it the grass be a certain length and standard and how idiots like Levine laughed ! If you will remember the cow field we lost our unbeaten 69 game unbeaten run on tho they were also allowed to kick shit of us as per usual! Only in Brigadoon!
Great article James and point well made. It’s a shame those in the media will ignore the point as it doesn’t suit their narrative and you’re an internet bampot.
Our budget compared to Real Madrid’s is miniscule yet we had them on the ropes for that first hour at CP because we had no fear. The problem as you say is the defeatist attitude outwith Glasgow with managers who think the only chance they have is if they kick our best players off the park and hope to grab something in a lucky break. All they do is show themselves up for the incompetents they are with no footballing intelligencen or bravery whatsoever. Does the SFA coaching course teach the same tactics they did in the 70s?
Spot on that league full of ‘ if the face fits” guys like Neilson should be nowhere near a top league job! Sums up clubs like ‘ the purple huns’ yeah I know that’s not their colour but “not the viewnaiked it ! As who cares! Anyway that club probably doesn’t even realise what you just uncovered!! Which takes like seconds!! Utter pathetic losers! That waste time in first 5 minutes and getting over our halfway line is their ambitions compare that to Ange playing same way every week no matter if I’d real Madrid or hearts! It’s like Levine before this clown also total waster! That coulldnt inspire no one or nothing! Beat before they start imagine that coaching and giving belief! Ha ha pathetic but only in Brigadoon eh and once they get sacked the BBC give them more work and so it goes on, well if they from the hun persuasion
” not the view” nailed it even I meant
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